Under ideal circumstances, caregiving is a shared responsibility. Unfortunately, that’s not typically the case. Several studies indicate that over 70 percent of family caregivers provide elder care without assistance from anyone else. Surprisingly, over two-thirds of those caregivers never ask for help from a friend or family member.

Asking for help is difficult for various reasons. Some of the reasons people find it so hard to do are:

  • Not wanting to surrender control
  • Fear of rejection
  • Negative experiences with depending on others
  • Not wanting to feel like a burden to someone else
  • Believing it’s just easier to do something by themselves

For these reasons and others, many caregivers experience unhealthy stress levels, become increasingly impatient and irritable, and end up neglecting their own needs. If you’re a family caregiver and are experiencing any of these challenges, including physical and mental exhaustion, it’s time to ask for help.

Who to Ask For Help

Before you ask for help, make a list of your caregiving duties and which ones you need help with. For example, do you need help with meal preparation? Housekeeping? Running errands? Personal care (bathing, grooming, dressing)? Companionship? Identifying what you need help with can help you ask the right person for help.

The second list you’ll need to make is a list of people and resources who can help you. Consider including:

Family and friends

Visit with your family and friends and establish what they have the time and ability to help with. Be sure to talk about duties they can physically assist with, but discuss financial and emotional support they can provide as well.


If your loved one has been in the same home for years, they probably know some of their neighbors and would feel comfortable having a familiar face check in on them and lend a helping hand from time to time. Asking a neighbor to stop by every once in a while will take pressure off you and give you greater peace of mind.